The Two Story “Play” House: Part Six Of My Own Fixer Uppers

When things started taking off with the business, we decided to build a bigger house for our growing family.  We liked our neighborhood and inquired about purchasing a vacant lot at the end of a quiet street backing up to some woods.  We found out that the owners would sell but that the lot had some drainage challenges. There were some underground springs on the property which would require rebar reinforcements to be put inside the foundation. We would have to find a builder who was experienced with such issues.

Thankfully, with Ken’s business contacts, we were able to find a builder that agreed to work on the project. We decided on a basic two-story plan and had a budget based on the parameters of our building loan that we tried our best to stay within.  We fashioned it after our first new home in Charlotte but without a garage and with a few upgrades.  Some changes were made along the way. We stuck with builder grade cabinetry, flooring, appliances and materials. We upgraded the carpet. We upgraded a few light fixtures such as in the eat-in kitchen area and dining room. We changed the location of a door so that we could have a front hall closet. (This was where my daughter would take all her dolls and stuffed animals during thunderstorms to hide out and stay safe when there was the threat of a tornado.) We fashioned a side porch entrance  because of the grade of the driveway. We decided on wood instead of vinyl siding because it was cheaper. We added a screened porch on the back of the house. My husband wanted a small office upstairs although it was basically an over-sized closet at the end of the hall.

I did not want any country blue in this house. Instead I opted for a hunter green and pink mauve color scheme. After all, it was the 1990’s.  I chose a floral rose wallpaper for the kitchen with a matching border. I found a Waverly fabric to go with it and made some café curtains for the windows. I  also chose floral wallpaper patterns for the dining room and for our master bath. I found neutral patterns for the other bathrooms. With this house, I began to experiment  more with decorating than I had with our previous homes.

I also took on more gardening projects for this house than I had before. To save money, I ordered some bare rooted plants through catalogs. We put in all the landscaping around the house ourselves. This was out of necessity because we had no grass or foundation plants when we moved in.  I had a gardening neighbor who inspired me.  She taught me a lot about the plants she had success growing.

In our backyard,we added a “play” fort with swing and slide for the children. We also put up a tire swing. We hired a retired neighbor to convert an upstairs walk-in storage space into a “play”room for the children. It was great as long as they were under 5 feet tall for the ceilings were very low and fit under the eaves of the house. He also added a deck on the back of the house.

We did what we thought were reasonable projects and upgrades for a house in our neighborhood. We did not want to make over-improvements. A garage would have been one such addition which was out of the question.


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